Happy Thursday everyone! Which reminds me, today is the last Thursday of July. I hope you had a great month and a great year. Otherwise, I hope things will start looking up.

Before closing another month, I will be doing a book tag. It was part of my new year’s resolution to do at least one book tag per month. I missed out once, thus breaking my streak, but I have been consistently doing at least one since. For July, I will be doing The Racing to Read Book Tag. I was tagged by Riddhi @ Whispering Stories. Do check out her blog. She does interesting book and reading-related discussions which are very engaging.

The Racing to Read Book Tag originally created by Ariel Bissett and Raeleen Lamay for a 2020 readathon. You can also find them on their podcast: Books Unbound.

Let’s get into it! Happy reading!

Warm Up: A book that stretches your mind

Oh! I do have a lot. Several of them are works of magical realism, a genre that has been mastered by Nobel Prize Laureate and Colombian storyteller Gabriel José García Márquez and popular Japanese wordsmith. The genre was vividly exemplified in their equally popular novels, One Hundred Years of Solitude and Kafka on the Shore, respectively. Interestingly, these are among the first books that introduced me to magical realism. I must I struggled quite a lot because it was new territory. My brain was toasted after I was done with both books because they kept stretching my imagination. Nevertheless, I am glad to have read these books because they introduced me to a different dimension of literature.

Start Line: What’s a book that you started but never finished?

I hate not finishing a book, regardless of whether I enjoy it or not. It was actually a conviction I made when I started taking reading seriously about a decade ago. That’s why when I decided to not push through with James Joyce’s Ulysses, I was a little disappointed. Even though I was already midway through the book, I realized that pushing through was moot because the book was barely making any sense. Until now, it is the only book I did not finish BUT I am reserving it for a better place in my reading journey. I have reserved my 1,000the novel for this labyrinthine literary work.

Sprint: A book you read really quickly

There is actually a couple of books that I read in one day. One of the more recent ones was Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler, aka Lemony Snickett of the popular children’s series A Series of Unfortunate Events. It was a quick and entertaining read. Entertaining, however, does not necessarily entail a good literary work. Another book I finished in one day was my first novel by the Queen of Suspense, Agatha Christie. I recall reading Murder on the Orient Express during a day class was suspended due to a typhoon. I started it in the morning and finished it before the day ended. It was a book I cherish.

Marathon: What’s your favorite long book?

The prospect of reading Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace daunted me. I struggled a bit with Anna Karenina and War and Peace’s length did little to assuage my allay my fears. But I guess it was all jitters. I found the book quite accessible even though it tackled a subject that is complex and dark. At 1,388 pages long, it is currently my longest read. Other long reads I loved – I do love the challenge of reading lengthy books – include Lucy Ellmann’s Ducks, Newburyport (1,022 pages), Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov (1,045 pages), and Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind (1,057 pages).

Hurdles: What’s a book that had ups and downs?

Xochitl Gonzalez’s debut novel, Olga Dies Dreaming, is part of my 2022 Books I Look Forward To List. However, I found the book a little uneven. There were parts where it soared and there were parts it fell flat. It was brimming with promise though.

Finish Line: A book you were proud to finish

When I started reading David Foster Wallace’s labyrinthine novel Infinite Jest, d*amn*d it hit me. Why did I even start reading it? Since I am a finisher, I pursued reading the book. It stretched both my imagination and patience but in the end, I was glad and proud I was able to finish this book. Interestingly, I liked it, despite the chaos that permeated the story and the book’s length.

Gold Medal: Best book you’ve read during a readathon

I have always wanted to take part in a readathon but I never got the chance to do so.

Participation Ribbon: An underrated book you wish got more attention

Charlotte Brontë is the oldest of the famed Brontë sisters. She is most renowned for her novel Jane Eyre, a book I also loved. Its popularity pushed her other excellent works to exist under its shadows, such as Villette, the last book by Charlotte to be published during her lifetime.

Do you enjoy sports? Have you read any of these books? Let me know in the comments!